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Brominated flame-retardants fall into three general classes, additive, reactive and polymeric. Additives are blended into the polymer using common polymer processing equipment at the same time other ingredients such as synergists, stabilizers, pigments , and processing aids are added. This is typically true of polymeric flame-retardants as well but these materials also have the advantage of low blooming and less environmental concerns due to their polymeric nature (Mw to large to go through a cell wall). Reactive flame-retardants become part of the polymer by either reacting into the polymer backbone or grafting onto it and hence have less environmental concerns..

The most important class of brominated flame retardants to date has been the polybrominated diphenyl oxides (diphenyl ethers) of which Decabromodiphenyl oxide (Deca) was the largest volume product and whose primarily use is in HIPS (high-impact polystyrene). DECA is being phased out and will no longer be produced in the US by 2013. Taking over from DECA is Decabromo diphenyl Ethane. Other types of brominated flame retardants have also come into wider use including tetrabromobisphenol-A , which is the largest volume, brominated flame retardant in use today. It can function as either an additive or a reactive flame retardant and is used as a raw material in the manufacture of other flame-retardants. Other newer flame retardants, which exemplify the move to polymeric flame retardants, include brominated polystyrenes, polybromostyrenes and brominated epoxy oligomers (BEO’s).
Subpages (3): Additive Polymeric Reactive